spider-man: turn off the dark // popular text posts
First episode and Tuxedo Mask debuts without his roses. Im gonna miss them :(
I’m far more devastated about this development than I care to admit :I
A shallow person wouldn’t ditch the Astronaut for the Photographer, but a shallow person would date an astronaut to get the attention of a photographer. She dicks around with Flash in the beginning, breaks it off with him because he’s a 2 dimensional juicehead, then dicks around with Harry because… reasons (I know she dated him in the comics before Peter, but the Harry in the comics is better written than the one in this movie), then she starts fantasizing about Spider-Man. Once when she thinks she’s going to die (aka rip off Gwen’s Death), does she start to think of Peter. One could make the argument that MJ broke up with Harry and started dating the Astronaut just to get Peter’s attention (which is a real bitch move to do). And even when she’s living with Peter in Spider-Man 3, she starts to fall back on Harry just because he gives her attention.
Now, yes, in the comics MJ had an abusive father. But by the time she moved next door to the Parkers, he was out of the picture and to hide the pain, she became the wild party girl which seperated her from Gwen who was the traditional “good girl”. MJ in the comics was the wild child, the girl who would grab Peter by the arm and drag him to the dance floor so Peter to see the faces of all the crowd turn and watch him, this lowly nerd dance with the smoking hot redhead because “Face it Tiger, you just hit the Jackpot!”
To quote the Nostalgia Critic, “MJ in these movies is not a character, she’s a character’s girlfriend. She is only there for Spider-Man to save and look good in his arms.” She’s boring, bland, and just not worth investing interest in. Had they chosen to go full Monty with the Spider-Man vs Green Goblin on the bridge scene, and had Spider-Man fail to save MJ resulting her death, nobody would’ve cared that MJ died, because you could’ve completely taken her out of the story, and it wouldn’t have mattered.
I am not quite sure where you get the idea she was dating John to get Peter’s attention. Could you make the argument? I mean, I guess. I just don’t see how it holds up. Just because she told him “I’m seeing somebody now” at his birthday party? I mean it had been two years since Uncle Ben’s death at that point so if we’re being generous about the first movie’s timeline it had probably been about a year and a half since he rejected her at that point; I’m sure she had plenty of chances to “get Peter’s attention.” Maybe she was just trying to move on. Y’know, like people do. If she were merely trying to get his attention I don’t think she would have a) been so cold to him at the Planetarium Party and b) told him “you’re too late” when he finally did decide to make a move. She didn’t even want to invite him to the wedding. If it were all a ruse to get his attention you’d think she would have. Like, to shove it in his face.
As for Harry, I assume she started dating him because he was there to pick up the pieces when she and Flash broke up. All of MJ’s interactions with men, to me, come off as her just wanting someone to be there for her. She dumps Harry when she feels he doesn’t stick up for her to his father. Her speech to Peter about how he’s being a shitty friend starts off with “John has seen my play five times.” She doesn’t think about leaving John until Peter starts swearing up and down “I’m different now … I’m not an empty seat anymore.” And it’s especially apparent when one thinks about her crush on Spider-Man. He swoops out of nowhere, a literal superhero who saves her from harm. A girl who has been abused all her life wants nothing but that. He is a fantasy come to life, she says as much in one of the deleted scenes restored in Spider-Man 2.1. Of course she’s going to be charmed. But then, when she’s about to die (to which I don’t see how the obvious homage to Gwen’s death is relevant, they do it all the time in the comics too) she realizes who, in reality, is there for her: the goofball who wants to buy her cheeseburgers and doesn’t think her waiting tables is low. And that’s not the first time she saw him as a potential romantic interest. That would be in the hospital after the “Great Thing About MJ” speech. Even Harry saw that.
And I’m not saying she’s perfect, kissing Harry while in a relationship with Peter was definitely wrong. But I think it’s very telling that you, and seemingly everyone else, don’t mention that Peter kissed another woman right in front of her in the same film. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’s obvious they were both making mistakes in their relationship in Spider-Man 3. And you know what? That’s great. It makes them real. They have actual problems, like keeping stuff from each other, bad communication, etc. not contrived bullshit like, oh, um, let’s say … a promise to a dead father that was the total opposite of the one made in the comics or “oh no, I’m moving to England” in the age of Skype.
You keep bringing up the living with Aunt Anna thing, but that’s obviously not the story Raimi wanted to tell. He probably thought that it would be more difficult and less believable to have someone just tell the audience “btw, MJ was abused” rather than showing it via the glimpses Peter saw from living next door. And he’s not the only one; the Amazing series was going to go the same route before cutting MJ entirely. These are movies, not comics. The story has to be streamlined somehow.
That being said, even with the streamlining MJ does have her own storyline: her acting. It’s completely independent of Peter and we see where she starts—abused in Queens—watch her rise via the modeling and The Importance of Being Earnest and fall back with Manhattan Memories, but are shown that she doesn’t let it get her down. She keeps trying. And that is the main reason why I disagree with you and the Nostalgia Critic (his word isn’t law). Mary Jane is not just a love interest. She is a character. She just happens to also be Peter’s love interest (she’s only his girlfriend for half of one movie, remember) and since he is the protagonist of course he and her relationship to him would receive more focus. That’s kind of the point of being the protagonist. The focus is on you. And I think you could make the case that any love interest is superfluous. Like, was Gwen really essential to either of the Amazing films? Most of the stuff she did felt like it was set up specifically just so they could have her do something. (Teen genius Peter Parker didn’t think to magnetize his web-shooters? Really?)
Ultimately it’s her imperfections, of which she definitely has but I don’t think are the ones you attribute to her, that I think make her a well-rounded, realistic character.
The Mary Jane Watson of the original Spider-Man films gets a hell of a lot of flak. She’s usually labelled a ‘no-personality damsel in distress’, before then being called some variation of ‘a clingy, whiny, self-centered two-timer’. Quite aside from the fact that her detractors accuse her of having no personality before immediately going on to describe her personality (well, a small part of it), they’ve somehow managed to miss why she’s ‘clingy, whiny and self-centered’:
Because she was abused!
This isn’t a minor detail, either: it’s very clearly shown that MJ’s abusive father affected her self-esteem massively. In a scene between Peter and MJ in Spider-Man 3, she’s upset - really upset - because of a mildly critical review. Like, really mildly critical. Peter can’t understand why. “That’s a critic, that’s just something you’ll have to get used to.” But MJ can’t understand why he can’t understand. “I look at these words and it’s like my father wrote them.” She’s been told her whole life she’s worthless, why should it stop now? It’s an overreaction, but it makes perfect sense.
Know what else makes perfect sense? MJ’s tangled relationships with men, especially Peter and Harry. She dates Harry straight out of high school, and hey, I love Harry, I really do - but he wants a say in how she dresses, for God’s sake. He loves her but (probably due to coming from a loveless household himself) he’s a terrible boyfriend. And MJ’s doesn’t even quite trust him to accept her- she’s sensitive about the social divide between them, between ‘trash’ and people like the Osborns, but she sticks around anyway, because, like I said, Harry loves her, he thinks she’s beautiful, and he’s rich and good-looking and if someone like that (or John Jameson, another rich and successful young man) wants her how worthless can she be? MJ wants a man in her life, she wants to prove her father wrong, prove she is loveable - if one man lets her down, maybe another one won’t. As soon as Harry fails her she turns to Peter; as soon as Peter fails her a movie or two later she turns back to the now more grown-up Harry. And before you ask, yes, I’ve lost count of the amount of times she’s called ‘slut’ or ‘skank’ for this by fandom, whereas the boys get away with virtually every instance of unpleasant behaviour towards her.
I’m not saying MJ is a saint, mind. Actually, that’s pretty much the point: she isn’t. Leaving John Jameson at the altar with a note was really quite cruel; when she lost her job she should have told Peter about it; she should also have had a proper conversation with him about the Gwen situation; and she shouldn’t have prejudged Gwen herself (a totally innocent party throughout all of Spider-Man 3) so harshly. MJ fucks up, you know, she really does - but that’s okay. The movies don’t judge her for her sex life, her rough patches, her frequent need for reassurance, or her ambition. When Norman behaves in a downright misogynist way to her (remember him leering at her chest mere minutes before he calls her a gold-digger? She’s nineteen at most at that point. I think he deserved that stab in the dick) we aren’t meant to think he’s right, we’re meant to think he’s horrible. Yet I’ve seen an unnerving amount of people agree with him. Which is absolutely endemic of a wider problem, but anyway - back to MJ as a person -
There’s more than one kind of female character, and I am absolutely, absolutely here for the flawed, messed up, not-really-all-that-kickass ones. MJ’s clingy because she wants to be loved, she’s ‘whiny’ (sigh) because people treat or have treated her actually really badly, and she’s self-centered because you know what abusers try to do? Deny their victims a sense of self. Almost every part of MJ’s life is trying to prove her father wrong, trying to fight back against her abuser by succeeding in life and loving others (and herself) the best that she can, and I think that makes her easily as good a role model as Spider-Man. The movies themselves seem to agree with me. How about you?
Too bad nothing about her in the movies is worth investing interest into.
MJ is supposed to be the wild party girl, there is nothing of that in the Rami movies. She’s shallow, and put her fingers into waaaaay too many pots throughout the trilogy.
Heck, by the time she and her Aunt Anna are neighbors with the Parkers, her father isn’t even in the picture any more.
And yes, I know that MJ became the party girl to bury the pain of the abuse her father did to her and her mother and sister. “Those who smile and laugh the most have been hurt the most.” Yet, after Spider-Man 1, MJ is still her boring self and dicking around with another guy and her relationship with her father has been fixed, “My father… *laugh* he came backstage to borrow cash (to buy a ticket to see MJ preform on stage).”
While MJ is supposed to be “Face it Tiger, you just hit the Jackpot!” Sam Rami’s MJ is more like “sorry guy, you just busted.”
I’m pretty sure you are misinterpreting that line from Spider-Man 2. The implication is clearly that he came backstage to bum some cash from her, probably for booze, and nothing more. The laugh is dry and sardonic and her voice falters a little when she picks up talking after it. And there’s an “even” qualifier in front of it. As in “even my asshole father managed to show some form of interest in my life; what the hell Peter?”
And how is she shallow? Seriously, I hear this thrown out time and time again; someone help me because I don’t see it. A shallow person would not have ditched the astronaut son of a newspaper owner for a guy who can’t even pay rent for a shitty apartment where the doorhandles don’t even stay on. A shallow woman would have been the kind of woman Norman spoke about (i.e. a “golddigger”) whereas Mary Jane didn’t even see the point of Harry buying her something after the World Unity Festival thing.
I love that “put her fingers into waaaaay too many pots” complaint, by the way. Mary Jane dates four guys over the span of—at least—two years. Not only is that a reasonable number, not only should it be considered that she probably never would have dated John if Peter hadn’t responded to her confession of love with “I will always be your friend … that’s all I have to give” (is she supposed to sit and wait until he changes his mind?), the OP perfectly explains why she does it: “she wants to be loved.” It’s like, right there.
Is she exactly like her comic counterpart? No. I would argue we see flashes of that in the first movie, though, particularly when she rides off with Flash after the backyard scene. She seems to completely flip a switch and act differently than she did with Peter moments before, almost like she’s covering up her emotions. But, bottom line, she is a very well-written and realistic abuse survivor.
The Top 10 Female Disney Villains: From Misunderstood to Pure Evil.
How is Cruella only 5? She wanted to murder PUPPIES!
because the others wanted to murder people…
EXCUSE ME ELSA IS THE ANTIHERO THE CLEAR VILLAIN OF FROZEN IS HANS
WHO THE HECK PUT ELSA ON THIS
All of these people are equally evil except for Elsa, who shouldn’t be here; Hans should be there in her place.
Elsa IS the antagonist of Frozen, guys. She causes both of the major conflicts: the eternal winter of Arendelle and the freezing of Anna’s heart. She is an unwitting/unwilling antagonist, obviously, but an antagonist nonetheless. Hans, meanwhile, is more a variation of The Dragon (if you ask me). He needs to be defeated before Elsa’s winter can be stopped.
Gwen Stacey (originally) never knew Peter was Spider-Man, and (originally) hated Spider-Man for indirectly causing her father’s death. Gwen Stacey loved Peter Parker
Black Cat/Felicia Hardy never knew Spider-Man was Peter, and when Spider-Man revealed who he was to her, she ended their relationship because she didn’t want a personal relationship. Black Cat loved Spider-Man
Mary Jane Watson learned Peter was Spider-Man very early on, and didn’t want to get in a relationship with Peter because she didn’t want Peter to have to worry about her while he was out super-heroing. But she never told anyone about Peter’s double life because she knew Spider-Man was necessary. Mary Jane Watson loved Peter Parker AND Spider-Man.
YOU DON’T BUILD UP ONE CHARACTER BY TEARING DOWN ANOTHER. STOP INSULTING MJ JUST TO MAKE GWEN MORE SUPER-SPECIAL-AWESOME.
To the tune of “Some Nights” by fun.:
Some nights I stay up wondering if I should make a rp blog
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